Because of a seriously short first season, ABC has only served up 29 episodes of Scandal. But thanks to the most intricate plotting and aggressively fast-paced storytelling you can find on television, it feels like 92 episodes have aired!
That means there's still so much to be explored about past installments while we wait for the third season to premiere on October 3. So, in anticipation of Scandal: The Complete Second Season hitting DVD on September 3, I caught up with star Tony Goldwyn to reflect on how far his character has come before we find out where he's going next!
Keep reading to get Tony's take on this past rollercoaster season, whether or not he believes Fitz and Olivia are soulmates, his least favorite moment to film and the line that left him utterly speechless.
ETonline: Looking back on season two, what did you enjoy about Fitz's journey?
Tony Goldwyn: The moves that Shonda Rhimes and the writers made were so big, I just never saw any of it coming, and I think the audience was the same. The greatest thing I got to explore was the extreme contrast within him. The desperately in love, romantic, really sexy stuff stood in contrast with the incredible darkness when I got so enraged and committed murder. I got to do these really extreme contrasts -- going from someone who is completely on his heels and feels powerless to being very much in command and taking control of the country -- and that's an actor’s dream.
ETonline: Have you had enough conversations with Shonda about job security where you don't get scared of being killed off when Fitz gets shot?
Goldwyn: No. [laughs] To be honest with you, I know Shonda loves me, but the relationship between Fitz and Olivia has become so fundamental to the show that I was pretty sure Fitz wasn't going to die. But I wasn't 100 percent sure.
ETonline: That led to Fitz being in a coma. I know the shooting schedule on Scandal is insane, so are those moments where you just have to sleep doubly enjoyable?
Goldwyn: No, actually they were my least favorite days of the whole season. It's so much fun to play these scenes, so to have to sit there and do nothing for 10 hours with my eyes closed was pretty terrible. There was this one scene with Kerry [Washington], Bellamy [Young] and Jeff [Perry] talking over my comatose body, and they were doing such amazing work, I was peeking through my eyelids to see what they were doing.
ETonline: That was basically the only downtime you got this season. Was there anything Fitz did that you were surprised by? That you didn't think him capable of?
Goldwyn: Well, certainly murder. But also the rejection of Olivia took me completely by surprise. I'd been working from this very strong point-of-view about getting Olivia committed to the idea that we needed to be together. Telling her I was willing to sacrifice anything in order to do that. The episode where Edison proposed marriage to her, and I tell her to wait for me and once she decides to wait, the very next scene is me saying, "Oh yeah, I changed my mind," that shook me so much. I remember at the table read I almost couldn't get the words out because it surprised me so much. It was a great move from a storytelling point of view, but it was very hard to do.
ETonline: Do you feel that Fitz and Olivia are soulmates?
Goldwyn: I do. I definitely do. I don't know that Kerry would agree with me, but I completely think Olivia and Fitz, if given a chance, would make the most fantastic couple and be the most amazing family. I think it's circumstance and the forces tugging against them that makes it impossible.
ETonline: Given that, what did you make of Fitz laying his head in Mellie's lap at the end of the season? Was that the ultimate sign of his emotional defeat?
Goldwyn: I don't know, I was totally confused by that too. It was another moment that I found really, really hard. I wasn't sure what it meant. I just couldn't believe I did that after being pushed so hard. We will find out more about what’s going on with Fitz & Mellie's relationship in season three, and what motivated that, but it's another great example of what I meant earlier. I was constantly swinging around 180 degrees, and sometimes it was very upsetting to me. That was another choice I had a lot of difficulty with.
ETonline: Some of those 180 degree swings were tough for us too. I had a really hard time watching him self-sabotage during his alcoholic spiral.
Goldwyn: Yeah, it was hard to play too. It was very dark, but also very interesting. And how great was it that Mellie was the one to shake him out of it? That amazing speech that Shonda wrote, and Bellamy delivered so incredibly well, was a wake-up call: You're a drunk, a terrible father and not who you used to be. Going through that, and seeing him be so awful, was hard. Shonda pushed that right to the limit -- and the fans were having a hard time hanging with Fitz. She pushed it right to the edge of people giving up on Fitz and then swung it back the other direction. It's what makes her so brilliant.
ETonline: If Olivia is Fitz's soulmate what's your take on his feelings for Mellie?
Goldwyn: I think Fitz has great admiration for so much of what Mellie is. She's a survivor with incredible strategic instincts. Mellie really is, in a perverse way, for the team. She wants this team to win, so in that sense, she's good, but Fitz has blind contempt for her ambition and instinct to act out of shameless, short-term self-interest with no boundaries whatsoever. That's antithetical to how Fitz wants to see himself. And I also don't think he's ever really been in love with Mellie. She fit the mold of what his father wanted and I think they had good early years where they were happy in many ways. But when he met Olivia, it was like the universe opened for him and he thought, "My God, what have I been doing for 20 years?" In a sense, Olivia confirmed to Fitz the kind of man he wants to be. He saw, through Olivia, that the man he wants to be is a man he could be, whereas with Mellie, it's much more fulfilling this image of a winner. Olivia reminded him of who he always knew he was.
ETonline: Through Fitz and Olivia's relationship fans got some very steamy scenes. Some that even I was surprised to find on network TV in the 10 o'clock hour.
Goldwyn: It's fantastic. Shonda pushes it and you just have to laugh at loud at the boldness she shows. I think it makes ABC nervous at times, but I think she was very straight with them from the get-go that she planned to push the boundary. Those scenes are always rooted in the characters, and for us, it's great because that stuff feels so real.
ETonline: And the season two finale revealed Fitz's "superpower," which is a pretty good one to have!
Goldwyn: [laughs] Oh man, that line ... we have these table reads where, most often, we're getting the scripts for the first time and we just roar at what these characters are saying. There's another outrageous line like that in episode two of the new season. You have to applaud Shonda because she certainly doesn't shy away from it.
ETonline: Speaking of season three, what are you excited for the Scandal fans to experience?
Goldwyn: I'm excited for them to be as surprised as I am. And it's only getting worse. We're shooting episode four right now and right from the beginning there's such huge surprises, my jaw dropped. Now, going into episode four, there are things ... I cannot figure out where we’re headed, and Shonda won't tell us, so I have to figure things out for myself and if I'm wrong, I just have to reconfigure my thinking. But there are so many intricacies that have evolved in season three because of how we built seasons one and two. The net just keeps getting wider and more tangled and deeper and more complicated. I just can't wait for people to experience that.
Scandal: The Complete Season Season hits DVD on September 3. Click here to pre-order.